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Posts Tagged ‘Ephesians 2:21-22’


Exodus 40: Seek the Word

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Claiming the Word

I am thinking of how careful Moses is as he prepares a place for the Lord’s word to rest.  The tablets of the Ten Commandments are contained in the Ark of the Covenant along with a jar of manna that fed the Hebrews in the desert, and Aaron’s rod which blossomed and performed miracles in Egypt.  This special ark was adorned with gold and placed in a special tent, and the tent later became a temple. The children of Israel – led by Moses – took care to set aside these emblems of the covenant in a special place.  We too, are called to prepare the temple of ourselves in which the Holy Spirit might take up residence.  Several times in this chapter we read: Moses did exactly as the Lord had commanded him.  We – like Moses – must prepare our hearts for the in-dwelling of God’s spirit just as God asks.

In his letters, St. Paul reminds us that our bodies are the New Testament temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16 and 6:19, Ephesians 2:21-22) replacing the temple in Jerusalem.  In Romans 10, Paul tells us where to find this word of God, and also how to claim it as our own: The word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the word of faith, the faith which we preach, that if you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and if you believe with your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved.  It is by believing with the heart that you are justified, and by making the declaration with your lips that you are saved. 

Belief that God creates, that Jesus saves and that the Holy Spirit comforts does not make us followers of Christ in and of itself; we must also proclaim this story to others with our own lips and our own actions.   Yet, even this declaring alone does not bring us into full participation in Christ’s body.  We must, as James tells us in his letter, be doers of the words and not sayers only.  (1:22-23) When we claim this word with our lips and hearts, and when we act on this word, we enter into full partnership with Christ.

The prophet Jeremiah predicted that there would come a day when the word of God would no longer be contained by tablets but would be written on our hearts (31:31), and it is with this writing that God claims us as his own.  It is this stepping forward on our part that designates us as the faithful.  We who come willingly and openly to sing God’s praise and to claim God’s word . . . also join our hearts with God’s.

A Favorite from November 23, 2009.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011 – Ezekiel 44 – Access and Worship

This chapter of Ezekiel’s prophecy goes into meticulous detail about who is admitted into the Temple and how.  There is no doubt that entering into God’s presence is special.  Nor is there any doubt that the Jewish people will see to it that this strict code is obeyed.  The closed gate is reserved for God himself; only the prince may sit down in it to eat his meal in the presence of the Lord.  He must enter by way of the vestibule of the gate, and leave by the same way.  How fortunate we are – as New Testament people – to have the freedom to enter the Temple at all times.  How blessed we are to be temples that the Lord God loves to visit.  How wonderful the gift of God’s Spirit that settles into us to take up residence in the temple of self that we prepare. 

Paul has much to tell us about our temple union with Christ.  From his first letter to the Corinthians (3:16-17; 6:19): Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s templeand that God’s Spirit lives in you?If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;you were bought at a price. 

Paul also writes to the Ephesians (2:21-22) that in Christ the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. 

There is no doubt that once Christ has entered the Temple Ezekiel so carefully describes, we are admitted with him.  As Christ’s adopted sisters and brothers, we have been bought at a great price, we are pearls of immense value, and we are welcomed in the sanctuary of the Lord . . . the arms of Christ. 

Let us remember this as we pray . . .

Holy and sacred God, you want us to be with you fully in eternity; give us the patience to persevere in our journey with you.

Good and generous God, you forgive us endlessly for our many faults and errors; give us the love to forgive all those who have done us harm.

Constant and abiding God, you accompany us now in our sorrows and our joy; give us the faith to follow you wherever you ask us to go.

We welcome you into the humble temple of self that we have prepared for you.  Take up residence there and guide us in our passage to you.  Grant us eternal access to your wisdom and grace; keep us close to you and call us to worship you in thanksgiving.  For your goodness and compassion are abundant.  Your presence and kindness are healing.  Your love and cousel are comforting.  Be with us now and always.  Amen.

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